Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (203)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

203. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore grants for third level students to study Irish in the Gaeltacht as part of their undergraduate degree courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The decision to stop the Gaeltacht placement grants was taken during the economic crisis when, unfortunately, very difficult decisions had to be made to stabilise the nation's finances.  At the time, priority was given to protecting resources for front line education services as far as possible.

While there is no provision currently in my Department's budget for this grant or an element thereof in 2019, because of ongoing budgetary pressures which continue to be acute, the matter remains under consideration in my Department.

To assist with the costs of the Gaeltacht placement, students who are in receipt of a student grant which includes a 100% fee grant, or who would have qualified for a full fee grant but for the Free Fees Scheme, can apply for funding towards travel and accommodation costs under the field trip element of a fee grant, subject to the normal terms and conditions of the student grant scheme.  Apart from this, in circumstances of particular need, students may apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund.  Information in relation to this fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended.